Why you should upgrade to wordpress 3.1

WordPress 3.1 just came out and I’m excited to be using it!  It has some new features that will make your life much easier. Of course you should always update for security reasons.  The wordpress developers are always looking for ways to improve the safety of the software, and each new version has additional means of doing so.  But 3.1 has lots more!  The biggest change is that you will be able to see your dashboard links from your wordpress site – not just the dashboard!  If you are familiar with blogger or wordpress.com, you’ll know about the links across the top of the screen already.  But this is something new for 3.1.  There are dropdown menus for comments, adding posts or pages, upgrades, etc. right on the top of your screen.  No more needing to go back and forth between the site and the dashboard if you want to add or change something – it’s right there!  Another addition is the possiblity to choose a post type, which makes wordpress have some of the tumblr-style...

Building a custom Facebook Page

FBML used to be the easiest way to make a custom Facebook landing page.  Facebook has never supported certain HTML features like image maps, making it difficult to link to different areas on your welcome page.  Now they are moving away from FBML and into iframes – which have more possibilities, but still aren’t easy for the typical user to install!  If you don’t understand what all of that means, you would probably love the service that I have started using in the past couple of weeks – Assembly Line by Lujure. Lujure is a service that lets you build custom facebook pages without knowing any code – just drag and drop, then publish to your page!  The first step is to make the graphic for your main welcome page – 520px wide is the standard, and you can go up to 2000px tall.  Once you have your page graphic, you can go to the Lujure dashboard and upload the background image.  Then use their drag and drop interface to add things like clickable hotspots, flash content, a flickr stream, etc.  Click on publish and it will show up on your facebook page!  Of course you’ll still need to know your way around facebook in order to set the page up as your default landing page, but it makes things a LOT easier. More and more businesses are using facebook to connect with customers and to stay connected with current customers.  Some companies are doing away with the standard website altogether and opting to just use facebook – so you definitely want to have a web presence.  A welcome...

Contact forms on the blog

Many of you probably read Lawrence’s Tofurious blog about marketing your business.  One thing he suggested earlier this week is making it easy for potential customers to contact you by adding links beneath posts, at the bottom of your blog, etc.  Here’s Diana Lawrence’s take on this – she put a graphic contact area on the bottom of her blog.  When a reader reaches the bottom of the page, all it takes is one quick link and they can fill out the form! Wordpress has several contact plug-ins, but if you really want to be fancy and take forms further, I suggest appnitro’s Machform.  It allows you to make unlimited forms with all sorts of fields, and then embed them on your blog, HTML site, etc.  It’s very powerful and also environmentally...

What is Foursquare and how can I use it?

You might have noticed people posting check-ins from Foursquare on their Facebook profiles, or you may have seen the Foursquare logo somewhere on the net.  What exactly is it, and why should you care?  Well, it has some great social marketing potential, as well as being a way to reward your loyal customers. Foursquare is a social networking program that allows people to connect with their friends – you can see where your friends are and ‘check in’ as you go to various places.  Some of it is kind of silly fun – you can unlock badges, so if your inner Girl Scout didn’t earn enough as a child that is one possible plus.  But you can also leave tips and read tips left by others.  For example, you might be in a new restaurant or visiting a new city and you don’t know what to do – what is the best dish on the menu?  What should be avoided?  Which tourist attraction is worth the time and money to visit, and which isn’t?  Reading the tips will let you know – and often it is the small things that would not be noted in typical restaurant reviews or tour guidebooks. But tips can also be used to share information on specials – so why not put that out there? It can also be used as a rewards program.  The person with the most check-ins at a place within a certain period of time gets bragging rights as ‘mayor’ of that location.  Many businesses offer special perks to the mayor – nothing huge, but something that will keep them...

New product review – Splash Page Editor by DecoImaging

I recently tried out the new splash page editing software by DecoImaging.  It’s an application that allows you to code your own splash page without having to know any HTML, CSS, or any other acronym!  All you have to do is design a page in photoshop, then upload the image to the editor and tell it where you want your links.  You can also put SEO text, etc. on there so that the search engines can find you easily. It’s a simple program to use, and if you’re not up to buying Dreamweaver or some other program to help you code image maps, it can be an easy way to make a splash page.  It’s $15 per month, only payable when you need it.  So if you are designing a splash page this month, you’d pay the $15 and get it set up.  Then you don’t pay again unless you need to edit your page in a different month.  The $15 is not a recurring payment, so you don’t have to remember to cancel anything. They have a free demo you can try, so if being able to change your splash page yourself is something you’ve wanted to do but didn’t know how, give it a try! And through 10/26, use this coupon code to get one month’s access for only $9! ...

New plug-in to allow fly-out side tabs!

Check it out!  You can see the cute little side tabs on the left side of this page.  You can put anything you like in those side tabs.  Most people will put FB and twitter info, but it can be other stuff too.  Announce upcoming sales, new backdrops, etc. – really, anything you like!  I’m going to play around with it a little bit and see what I come up with.  It’s a free plug-in that you can download from SLRlounge, but it’s not as simple as just installing the plug-in and telling it where to go.  You have to muck around a tiny bit in the code to make it work.  They do have a nice tutorial as part of the plug-in, but if you don’t want to deal with it I can install the plug-in and get everything configured for you.  It’s $25 for the service, just drop me a line at heather@lovebugsphotography.com if you need...